Toward a Typology of Middle Voice in Koine Greek

Mapping a feature-based model for middle voice over a semantic-cognitive model, like that of Rutgar Allan (2003) and Rachel Aubrey (2016, 2020), provides a more robust understanding of Koine middle voice, one that accounts not only for semantic verb types but also for tense, aspect, and valency. This paper combines the most recent feature-based models of middle voice in linguistics (Ingleses 2022; Zúñiga & Kittilä 2018) with approaches in classical Greek that treat tense markers and aorist morphemes (García Ramón 2014; Bakker 1994; Rijksbaron 2006) and applies them to the LXX of Esther. Esther serves as the base text due to the density of middle-voice forms in the additions and pluses, its high Hellenistic Greek, and its stylized translation technique. The three-hundred middle-voice tokens in Esther show that Koine Greek employs middle marking for valency reductions like direct and indirect reflexives (present and sigmatic aorists), aspectual features related to atelicity (present), distributive activity (present), telicity and ingressive activities (-(θ)η-), stativity (-(θ)η-, perfect), and transitivity reduction (present and -(θ)η- aorist). These findings result in an initial typology of Koine Greek that can be augmented by data from other books in the Septuagint or New Testament Greek. Moreover, applying the typology to translation provides clearer, more precise renderings of Greek verbal forms than current approaches.

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